(AR) - The Book of the Apocalypse Revealed, Uncovering the Secrets That Were Foretold There and Have Lain Hidden until Now

AR 417

Remove Highlights | Highlight Search Terms


417. To the above I will add this Relation. I saw in the spiritual world two flocks, one of goats and the other of sheep; I wondered who they were, for I knew that animals, seen in the spiritual world, are not animals, but correspondences of the affections and thence of the thoughts of those who are there. Wherefore I approached nearer, and as I drew near, the likenesses of animals disappeared, and instead of them were seen men. And it was shown, that they who constituted the flock of goats, were those who had confirmed themselves in the doctrine of justification by faith alone; and they who constituted the flock of sheep, were those who believed that charity and faith are a one, as good and truth are a one.
[2] And then I spoke with those who had been seen as goats, and said, "Why are you thus assembled?" They consisted chiefly of clergy, who gloried in their fame for erudition, because they knew the arcana of justification by faith alone. They said that they were assembled to sit in council, because they had heard that what is said by Paul (Romans 3:28), that "man is justified by faith without the works of the Law," was not rightly understood, because Paul by "the works of the Law" meant the works of the Mosaic law, which was for the Jews; which we also clearly see from his words to Peter; whom he rebuked for judaizing, when yet he knew that "no one is justified by the works of the Law" (Galatians 2:14-16); also, that he distinguishes between the law of faith and the law of works; and between Jews and Gentiles, or circumcision and uncircumcision, meaning by circumcision, Judaism, as everywhere else; and likewise from his summing up with these words:
Do we then abrogate the law through faith? Not so, but we establish the Law (Rom. 3:31).
He says all these things in one series (Romans 3:27-31); and he also says in the preceding chapter:
For not the hearers of the Law are justified by God, but the doers of the Law shall be justified (Rom. 3:13).
God will render to every man according to his deeds (Rom. 2:6).
We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that each one may receive the things done in the body, whether they be good or evil (2 Cor. 5:10).
Besides many other things from him; from which it is evident that Paul rejects faith without good works, equally with James (2:17-26).
[3] That the works of the Mosaic law, which were for the Jews, were meant by Paul, we are additionally confirmed in by this consideration, that all the statutes for the Jews in Moses are called "the Law," thus "the works of the Law," which we perceive from these passages:
This is the law of the meal-offering (Lev. 6:9 seq.).
This is the law of the sacrifice (Lev. 7:1).
This is the law of the sacrifice of the peace-offering (Lev. 7:7, 11 seq.).
This is the law of the burnt offering, of the meal-offering, of the sacrifice for sin and guilt, for the consecration (Lev. 7:37).
This is the law of the beast and of the bird (Lev. 11:46 seq.).
This is the law for her that bringeth forth a son or a daughter (Lev. 12:7).
This is the law of leprosy (Lev. 13:59; 14:2, 32, 54, 57).
This is the law of him that hath an issue (Lev. 15:32).
This is the law of jealousy (Num. 5:29-30).
This is the law of the Nazarite (Num. 6:13, 21).
This is the law of cleansing (Num. 19:14).
This is the law concerning the red heifer (Num. 19:2).
The law for the king (Deut. 17:15-19).
Yea, the whole book of Moses is called:
The book of the law (Deut 31:9, 11-12, 26; also in the evangelists, Luke 2:22; 24:44; John 1:45; 7:22-23; 8:5; and other places).
To this they added also what they had seen in Paul, that the law of the Decalogue was to be lived, and that it is fulfilled by charity, which is love towards the neighbor (Romans 13:8-11); thus not by faith alone. They said that this was the reason of their being convened.
[4] But that I might not disturb them, I retired; and then they again appeared, at a distance, like goats, and sometimes as lying down, and sometimes as standing; but they turned themselves away from the flock of sheep. They appeared as if they were lying down, when deliberating, and as standing up, when they came to a conclusion. But, keeping my eyes fixed upon their horns, I wondered on seeing that the horns on their foreheads sometimes appeared to extend forward and upward, then to be bent backward, and at last to be thrown back entirely. And then they all suddenly turned round to the flock of sheep, but still appeared as goats. Wherefore I drew near to them again, and inquired, What now? They replied, that they had come to this conclusion, that faith alone produces the goods of charity, which are called good works, as a tree produces fruit. But then thunder was heard, and lightning seen from above; and presently there appeared an angel standing between the two flocks, who cried to the flock of sheep, "Do not hearken to them; they have not receded from their former faith, which is, that God the Father hath compassion for the sake of the Son; which faith is not faith in the Lord; neither is faith a tree, but man is a tree; but do the work of repentance, and look to the Lord, and you will have faith; faith before that, is not a faith in which there is anything living." Then the goats, whose horns were directed backward, wished to approach the sheep; but the angel standing between them, divided the sheep into two flocks, and said to those on the left, "Join yourselves to the goats; but I say to you, that a wolf will come, which will snatch them away; and you with them."
[5] But after the two flocks of sheep had separated, and they on the left hand had heard the threatening words of the angel, they looked at one another, and said, "Let us confer with our former associates." And then the left-hand flock spoke to the right, saying, "Why have you receded from your pastors? Are not faith and charity a one, as a tree and its fruit are one? For the tree by its branch is continued into the fruit. Tear away anything from the branch which flows by continuity into the fruit, and will not the fruit perish? Ask our priests if it is not so." And then they asked, and the priests looked around to the rest, who winked with their eyelids to intimate that they had spoken well. And then they replied that it was so, that faith is preserved by the fruit; but they would not say faith is continued in the fruit.
[6] But then one of the priests, who was among the sheep on the right hand, rose up and said, "They have answered you that it is so, but they have told their companions that it is not so; for they think otherwise." Wherefore they inquired, "How, then, do they think? Do they not think as they teach?" He said, "No; they think that every good of charity, which is called a good work, done by man for the sake of salvation or eternal life, is not good but evil, by reason that man desires to save himself by his own works, by claiming to himself the justice and merit of the only Savior; and that it is so with every good work, in which man feels his own will. Therefore among themselves they call good works from man, not blessed, but cursed; and say that they merit hell rather than heaven."
[7] But the flock on the left hand said, "You speak falsehoods against them; do they not preach manifestly before us charity and its works, which they call the works of faith?" He replied, "You do not understand their preachings; only a clergyman, who is present, attends and understands. They think only of moral charity, and its civil and political goods, which they call the goods of faith, which yet are not at all so. For a man may be an atheist, and perform these works in the same manner, and under the same form. Wherefore they are unanimous in saying that no one is saved by any works, but by faith alone; but this shall be illustrated by comparisons. An apple tree produces apples; but if a man does what is good for the sake of salvation, as the tree produces apples by continuity, then those apples are rotten within, and full of worms. They say, also, that a vine produces grapes; but that if a man were to do spiritual goods as a vine grapes, he would produce wild grapes."
[8] But then they asked, "What is the nature of their goods of charity or works, which are the fruits of faith?" He replied, "They are inconspicuous, being inwardly in man from the Holy Spirit, concerning which man knows nothing." But they said, "If a man knows nothing concerning them, there must surely be some conjunction, or how could they be called works of faith? perhaps those insensible goods are then insinuated into the voluntary works of man by some mediating influx, as by some affection, aspiration, inspiration, incitation, and excitation of the will; by a tacit perception in thought and thence exhortation, contrition, and thus by conscience, and thence by impulse and obedience to the Decalogue and the Word, as an infant, or as a wise man, or by something else of a similar nature."
But he replied, "No; and if they say it is effected by such means because by faith, still they bury them with words in their discourses in such a manner that the result after all is, that they do not proceed from faith; some, however, do maintain such things, but as the signs of faith, but not as its bonds with charity. Some have nevertheless thought of a conjunction by the Word." And then they said, "Is there not thus conjunction, when man voluntarily acts according to the Word?" But he replied, "This is not what they think; they ascribe it solely to the hearing the Word, thus not to the understanding of the Word, lest anything should manifestly enter by the understanding into the thought and will of man; since they assert that everything voluntary in man is meritorious, and that in spiritual things, man cannot begin, will, think, understand, believe, operate, and cooperate anything, any more than a stock; but yet it is different with the influx of the Holy Spirit by faith into the speech of the preacher, because these are acts of the mouth, and not acts of the body; likewise because man acts by faith with God, but by charity with men."
[9] But when one of them heard that it was done merely by hearing the Word, and not by understanding the Word, being indignant, said, "Is this through the understanding of the Word, by the Holy Spirit alone, whilst man, throughout the church service, turns himself away, or sits deaf as a post, or while he is sleeping, or only from an exhalation from the volume of the Word? What is more ludicrous?" After this a certain man of the flock of the right hand, who excelled the rest in judgment, requested to be heard, and said, "I heard a certain person say, 'I have planted a vineyard, now will I drink wine even to intoxication.' But another asked, 'Will you drink the wine out of your own cup by your own right hand?' And he said, 'No; but out of an inconspicuous cup from an inconspicuous hand.' And the other replied, 'Of a certainty then you will not be intoxicated.'" Presently the same man said, "But hear me, I beseech you; I say unto you, drink wine from the Word understood. Do you not know that the Lord is the Word? Is not the Word from the Lord? Is he not therefore in it? If then you do good from the Word, do you not do it from the Lord, from his mouth and will? And if you at the same time look to the Lord, he will also lead you, and will cause you to do it, and this he will do through you, and you as from yourselves. Who can say, when doing anything from a king, from his mouth and will, 'I do this from myself, from my own mouth or command, and from my own will?' After this he turned to the clergy, and said, "Ye ministers of God, seduce not the flock."
[10] On hearing these things, the greater part of the flock on the left hand receded, and joined themselves with the flock on the right; some of the clergy also then said, "We have heard what we have not heard before; we are shepherds; we will not leave the sheep." And they receded along with them, and said, "That man spoke a true word. Who can say, when he does anything from the Word, thus from the Lord, from His mouth and will, I do this from myself? Who that does anything from the mouth and will of a king, says, 'I do this from myself'"? Now we see Divine providence, why a conjunction of faith and works has not been discovered, which has been acknowledged by the ecclesiastical body. It could not be found, because no such conjunction can be given, for theirs is not a faith in the Lord, who is the Word, and therefore neither is it a faith from the Word. But the other priests went away, flourishing their caps, and crying out, "Faith alone! faith alone, it will live still."


User-Contributed Related Pages


Add a Related Page

Translate This Page

Add Small Canon Search to Your Website

Add a Small Canon Search™ button to my Google Toolbar

Add Small Canon Search™ to my Firefox Search Bar!

Add to Google

Daily Bible Verse

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Green Hosting

5 FREE Domains with Select Hosting Plans. Get yours!